Guide to the Joseph N. Scanlon Papers, 1940-1964 AIS.2005.13

ULS Archives & Special Collections

Summary Information

Repository
ULS Archives & Special Collections
Title
Joseph N. Scanlon Papers
Creator
Scanlon, Joseph N. (Joseph Norbert), 1899-1956
Collection Number
AIS.2005.13
Date [inclusive]
1940-1964
Extent
2.25 linear feet (2 boxes)
Abstract
Joseph Scanlon served as a cost accountant, an open hearth tender, and a steelworkers local union president before being hired as director of research and engineering for the United Steelworkers of America in 1946. While serving on several committees regarding industrial production and working for the United Steelworkers of America, he developed the Scanlon Plan of gain-sharing which required company management and union workers' cooperation to increase production efficiency. This collection contains correspondence regarding the Scanlon Plan at various companies and Scanlon's correspondence with other individuals interested in industrial relations. There are also photographs of Scanlon and various papers about profit sharing and other issues surrounding company finances.

Preferred Citation

Joseph N. Scanlon Papers, 1940-1964, AIS.2005.13, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System

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Biography

Joseph N. Scanlon was born to Irish immigrants in Cleveland, Ohio in 1899. He served with the Navy in the early 1920s before being trained as an accountant. His experiences with industrial relations began when he worked as a cost accountant for a small Ohio steel company. Scanlon quit this position to tend an open hearth at the mill and in 1936 became a volunteer union organizer for the C.I.O. Steel Workers Organizing Committee (S.W.O.C.). By 1938 he was president of S.W.O.C. Local 169 in Ohio. While serving in this position, Scanlon managed to save the plant from closure by having plant management meet with the union at the union headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pa., to create a more efficient production plan based on workers' suggestions. Because of his success in saving this steel mill, United Steel Workers of America President Philip Murray hired Scanlon and in 1946 made him director of their department of research and engineering to aid other ailing companies. One year later he resigned his position in the USWA to become a lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Industrial Relations Department, a post he held until his death in 1956. During World War II Scanlon served on labor advisory committees for the War Production Board. In 1948 he was a member of Life's Round Table on the Pursuit of Happiness, and in the 1950s was a technical advisor to the Anglo-American Council on Productivity of the Mutual Security Agency.

Scanlon is best known for his origination of the so-called "Scanlon Plan". This plan was developed in 1945 as a combination of different methods he had used to help companies become more efficient and productive. The Scanlon Plan is a set of profit sharing arrangements based on a company's historic ratio of labor cost and sales value of production. A key attribute of the plan is that union workers and management work together to cut costs while still maintaining or improving production by utilizing suggestions made by the workers. The money saved through these suggestions is then put aside and distributed among the workers and management. This placed emphasis not on individual achievement, but rather on the production of the workers as a whole because all bonuses were based on overall profit, thus making co-workers more likely to push each other to work more proficiently. The Scanlon Plan was applied to various industrial companies throughout the country and, after Scanlon's death, was continued by his associates, Fred Lesieur and Carl Frost.

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Scope and Content Notes

This collection contains correspondence regarding Scanlon's work with the USWA and various national committees, his position at the Pursuit of Happiness Round Table, and the Scanlon Plan at several companies. Personal correspondence with friends involved in industrial relations throughout the world is also present. There are photographs of Scanlon and various papers about profit sharing and other issues surrounding company finances. Clippings about Scanlon and the success of his plan are also present, as are several reports by the Anglo-American Council on Productivity, which evaluated post-WWII British industry.

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Arrangement

Each series is arranged chronologically.

  • Series I. Correspondence, 1944-1960
  • Series II. Industrial Relations Publications, 1940-1964

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

ULS Archives & Special Collections, May 2007

University of Pittsburgh Library System
Archives & Special Collections
Website: library.pitt.edu/archives-special-collections
412-648-3232 (ASC) | 412-648-8190 (Hillman)
Contact Us: www.library.pitt.edu/ask-archivist

Access Restrictions

No restrictions.

Copyright

Permission for publication is given on behalf of the University of Pittsburgh as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Betty J. White Jordan in November 2005.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Zachary L. Brodt in May 2007.

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Related Materials

Related Material

Harold J. Ruttenberg Papers, 1914-1998, AIS.1999.04, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Lapointe Machine Tool Company.
  • United States. Economic Cooperation Administration.
  • United States. Mutual Security Agency.

Genre(s)

  • Correspondence

Personal Name(s)

  • Bernstein, Meyer
  • Davenport, Russell Wheeler, 1899-1954
  • Golden, Clinton S. (Clinton Strong), 1888-1961
  • Hart, William J.
  • Lesieur, Frederick G.
  • Ruttenberg, Harold J.
  • Scanlon, Joseph N. (Joseph Norbert), 1899-1956

Subject(s)

  • Business and Industry
  • Gain sharing
  • Industrial engineering
  • Industrial engineers
  • Industrial management
  • Industrial relations
  • Industrial relations consultants
  • Labor
  • Profit-sharing

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Previous Citation

Joseph N. Scanlon Papers, 1940-1964, AIS.2005.13, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

Joseph N. Scanlon Papers, 1940-1964, UE/Labor 2005:13, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

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Bibliography

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Collection Inventory

Series  I. Correspondence, 1944-1960 

Scope and Content Notes

This series is comprised mainly of Joseph Scanlon's correspondence with companies interested in the Scanlon Plan and generally states the effects of the plan at each particular company. Personal correspondence includes information regarding Scanlon's work with the United Steelworkers of America, Mutual Security Agency, and Economic Cooperation Administration, as well as letters from friends working with industries in post-World War II Europe asking for his services. These letters, particularly those of Meyer Bernstein and Clinton Golden, detail the problems facing European economies in the early 1950s. Other documents include correspondence about Scanlon's involvement in Life magazine's Pursuit of Happiness Round Table and the issue of  Life in which the meeting's suggestions were presented, articles by Scanlon, clippings regarding the success of the Scanlon Plan at various companies, copies of Scanlon's obituary released by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his posthumous honors. Photographs of Scanlon are also present.

  BoxOversize
Life Magazine, 1948, 1952 11
  Oversize
Photographs of Joseph Scanlon 2
  BoxFolder
Scanlon Published Material, 1944-1948 21
  Folder
Correspondence- United Steelworkers of America, 1946-1954 2
  Folder
Correspondence- Clinton Golden, 1947-1956 3
  Folder
Correspondence- Clinton Golden regarding the American Mission to Greece, 1947-1953 4
  Folder
Correspondence- Scanlon, 1947-1952 5
  Folder
Correspondence- Scanlon Plan, 1948-1949 6
  Folder
Correspondence- Mutual Security Agency, 1948-1953 7
  Folder
Correspondence- Lapointe Machine Tool Co., 1948-1954 8
  Folder
Correspondence regarding Life "Pursuit of Happiness" Round Table, 1948 9
  Folder
Correspondence- Seminars, 1948-1949, 1954 10
  Folder
Clippings- Anglo-American Production Council, 1948 11
  Folder
"Profit Sharing under Collective Bargaining" by Joseph Scanlon, 1948 12
  Folder
Correspondence regarding Russell Davenport's "Dignity of Man", 1949-1955 13
  Folder
Correspondence- Economic Cooperation Administration, 1949-1952 14
  Folder
Correspondence- Fortune, 1949-1953 15
  Folder
Correspondence- Taylor Fibre Co., 1949-1954 16
  Folder
Company Billings, 1949, 1953-1954 17
  Folder
Clippings- Scanlon, 1949-1956 18
  Folder
Correspondence- Meyer Bernstein, 1950-1955 19
  Folder
Correspondence- Meyer Bernstein and Codetermination, 1950-1955 20
  Folder
Correspondence- Carl F. Frost, 1950-1951 21
  Folder
Correspondence- Jim Sweeny, 1950-1954 22
  Folder
Leicester College of Technology and Commerce, 1950-1951 23
  Folder
Correspondence- Russell Davenport, 1951-1954 24
  Folder
Script of Cambridge Educational Film about the Scanlon Plan, 1951-1952 25
  Folder
Correspondence- Letters of Appreciation, 1952-1955 26
  Folder
Correspondence- Scanlon Plan, 1953 27
  Folder
Correspondence- Acme Electric Co., 1953 28
  Folder
Correspondence- Allan MacEachen, 1953-1954 29
  Folder
Correspondence- Scanlon Plan, 1954-1956 30
  Folder
Award from Rochester Independent Workers Local 1, 1955 31
  Folder
Joseph Scanlon's Death, 1956 32
  Folder
Ceremonies Dedicating the Memorial Plaque in Honor of Joseph N. Scanlon, 1899-1956, 1956 33
  Folder
USWA Sidney S. Grant/Joseph N. Scanlon Memorial Fund 2nd Annual Scholarship Award Dinner Program, 1960 34
  Folder
Speech Material 35
  Folder
Photographs of Joseph Scanlon 36

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Series  II. Industrial Relations Publications, 1940-1964 

  Folder
Profit Sharing, 1940-1950 37
  Folder
Union/Management Cooperation and Profit Sharing, 1941-1943 38
  Folder
Writings by Clinton Golden on Steel and Soil, 1944-1951 39
  Folder
Clippings- Technological Change, 1945-1947 40
  Folder
"Profit Sharing: Will It Work?" Article, 1946 41
  Folder
William J. Hart Speech Transcripts, 1947 42
  Folder
Management Attitudes, 1947 43
  Folder
"Report by the Joint Committee on Production appointed by the National Coal Board and the National Union of Mineworkers", 1948 44
  Folder
First Proof of Russell Davenport's "Enterprise for Everyman", 1949 45
  Folder
"Enterprise for Everyman" by Russell W. Davenport (2 copies), 1950 46
  Folder
"Worker Participation on Production Problems" by George P. Shultz, 1951 47
  Folder
Reports of the Anglo-American Council on Productivity, 1952-1953 48-49
  Folder
"The Scanlon Plan: Cooperation Through Participation" by Gilbert K. Krulee, 1955 50
  Folder
"The 20th Annual Report of the Industrial Relations Section, Massachusetts Institute of Technology", October 1957 51
  Folder
How to Save and Create Jobs in the Pittsburgh Area by Harold J. Ruttenberg, 1964 52
  Folder
"The United Steelworkers of America . . . the First 10 Years" by Vincent D. Sweeney 53
  Folder
Articles by John F. Leahy 54
  Folder
"Corporate Partnership" 55
  Folder
"The Tree of Life Must Die at the Top" by G.H. Seybold 56

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